Red Pepper Cream Sauce Chicken

I know it looks like chicken parmigiana, but its not so get off my case! Our market likes to sell chicken breasts in packages of three. Often we will have them split a package as one is really enough for both of us. This week we decided to buy all three, use one and freeze the others. Great plan, worked well, except I froze the two extra in one freezer bag so I had to thaw both of them to use them. We had chicken parm earlier this week so wanted something a little different, hence the red pepper cream sauce chicken. As you know, i like spicy and this was spicy. Fran could eat it, but just. Its quick to make and easy. Spray a baking dish and place chicken in the center. Place 2 strips of bacon on the chicken. Layer the top with mozzarella cheese and top with 2 more bacon strips.

Meanwhile as we did not have an red pepper tomato sauce, I used plain marinara sauce and added some crushed red pepper, roasted garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Add some cream (about 1/2 as much as the marinara sauce) and mix. Pour this mixture over the top of the chicken/bacon/mozzarella and bake. I used the convection oven at 350 deg for 35 min.

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East is left and West is right

and who-da-thought they would meet for Thanksgiving at our house in 2011. Faced with the dilemma of having Republican political consultants and still newly weds Daniel and Frances home for Thanksgiving and tree-hugging lefty pinko liberal Fran’s birthday the same week, what cake do I make for their anniversary and birthday? Not having been born just yesterday I realized I needed to make two cakes.

The elephant cake for Daniel and Frances was my standard chocolate cake crumb coated with butter cream frosting and covered with white fondant.

The donkey (see how nice I am to use that descriptor?) was white velvet again crumb coated with butter cream and covered with fondant.

The emblems were carved from fondant and painted the traditional colors.

The stars both on the emblems and around the base were piped with red, white and blue colored butter cream frosting

The white velvet cake recipe are found at: I am not on the white velvet ropes yet!

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans.
  2. Use the first set of ingredients to make the cake. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 3 minutes with an electric mixer. Stir in the boiling water by hand. Pour evenly into the two prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely.

Thanksgiving 2011

Our first Thanksgiving with Frances and Kathy and what a great time it was! It was interesting integrating their Thanksgiving traditions with ours. For instance we had to have Mexican Rice. It is something that Frances associates with Thanksgiving because that is what her family does. Luckily I was able to talk Kathy into making it for us. I made it before, and while it was very good, it wasn’t quite right, and Kathy’s definitely was.

Fran is, has been, and always will be the Thanksgiving Day Dinner maven. It takes a special woman to make a perfect bird. We don’t need no stinkin pop-ups! My part of the dinner was the easy part. I only had soup and some sides to do. Nothing could be nicer or easier! The problem is I never ever, ever do nothing nice and easy! I always do it nice and rough!

Chipolte Pumpkin Soup is easy to make and a great way to spice up a nice start for your Thanksgiving Dinner. (This is NOT my picture. With guests there I couldn’t take the time to photograph everything.)

Pumpkin Chipotle Soup
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In: 30 Minutes
Servings: 8

“This wonderful, quick soup works as a main dish with a compliment of cornbread, or as a great accent dish with your Mexican favorites!”
INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 tablespoons sofrito
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • DIRECTIONS:
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook until the flour has turned golden brown, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Whisk in the pumpkin puree until no lumps remain, then add the chipotle peppers, half-and-half cream, sofrito, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and paprika. Return to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 8 minutes until thickened and hot.

Now, to make it rougher lets make two of the ingredients from scratch. Adobo sauce is a common Mexican sauce used as a marinade for steaks or fish, or as an additive to foods prior to cooking to add flavor.

Basic Adobo Sauce Recipe 

Servings:1 1/2 cups
Ingredients

  • 3 ounces guajillo chiles, (12), wiped clean, stemmed, slit open, seeded, and deveined
  • 3/4 cup water for blending, or more if necessary
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt, or 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 rounded teaspoon ground cumin

Directions: 

  • Heat a comal, griddle, or heavy skillet over medium-low heat, and toast the chiles 2 or 3 at a time, turning them over and pressing down on them with tongs frequently, until they’re fragrant and their insides have changed color slightly, about 1 minute per batch.
  • Soak the chiles in enough cold water to cover until they’re soft, about 30 minutes. Drain and discard the soaking water.
  • Put the 3/4 cup of fresh water in the blender jar with the chiles and the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth, at least 3 minutes, adding a little more water if necessary to puree. If you’d like a silky texture, strain the adobo through a medium-mesh sieve. (I did not strain the adobo sauce. It stayed an nice thick dark brown consistency.)

This adobo keeps in the refrigerator for up to five days or in the freezer for up to one month. 

The other ingredient is sofrito which is a fragrant additive to rice, pasta sauce, black beans and even pumpkin soup. The adobo is on the right, sofrito on the left.

Sofrito

Ingredients

  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 10 ajies dulces peppers, tops removed
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 onions, cut into large chunks
  • 3 medium heads garlic, peeled
  • 25 cilantro leaves with stems
  • 25 leaves recao, or culantro
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

Directions

In a food processor, combine green peppers, red peppers ajies dulces, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. Add cilantro, recao, salt, and pepper. Process to the consistency of semi-chunky salsa (not watery). Place in a ziplock freezer bag, and use as needed, or freeze in portions.
Recao is a popular Caribbean herb with many aliases. Among them, Culantro, long coriander, ngo-gai, and Mexican coriander. It may possibly be found in Latin grocery stores, or substitute with cilantro.
Aji Dulce is a common ingredient in Puerto Rican recipes. It is a small, sweet red pepper. If you can’t find it, use red bell pepper (which is what I did).